City joins boulevard of broken dreams

ON February 4, 1912, Austrian tailor and inventor Franz Reichelt died after jumping from the Eiffel Tower when a parachute suit he created failed to deploy. Reichelt was the author of his own demise.

In 2008 the Adelaide City Council (ACC) embarked upon a plan to make Adelaide one of the world’s first carbon neutral cities, despite the City of Adelaide contributing a fraction of 1 per cent of the world’s total annual carbon emissions. Advocacy for this policy has achieved few real world results, and placed an enormous burden upon the ratepayers of the City of Adelaide, diverting critical resources away from providing basic services.

It has also tethered the City of Adelaide to an economic death spiral of renewable energy histrionics, which has turned this state into an electric boulevard of broken dreams. A state where cheap generation assets have been gleefully destroyed by a State Government hell bent on putting the cart before the horse.

In 2001-02 the average wholesale power price in South Australia was $34 a megawatt hour. In 2017 that figure was $122 a megawatt hour, an extraordinary 263 per cent increase in 15 years. In the meantime, over at Town Hall, the ACC has discovered its own power prices have skyrocketed, with the City of Adelaide to incur an additional $2.7 million for electricity over the 2018 and 2019 calendar years. Consequently, it has endorsed a $1.75 million dollar purchase of solar panels to be installed on four sites, with a view to spending millions more on additional solar and battery storage projects.

So let’s get this right; the ACC takes an ideological position endorsing renewables, lumbers its ratepayers with the bill, ends up on the receiving end of multi-million dollar energy price increases; lumbers its ratepayers with the bill, and then moves to spend millions of dollars on renewable energy solutions to a renewable energy problem and, yes you guessed it, lumbers its ratepayers with the bill.

It may well be that our energy future will become increasingly reliant on renewables, but to take this bull by the horns before the technology can provide cheap and reliable power is irresponsible and the ACC taking its residents and businesses along for this ride is lamentable.

With the benefit of a time machine, one might well consider climbing the Eiffel Tower and tapping Reichelt on the shoulder to point out the terrible risk he was about to take, seconds before jumping to his death. Similarly, one might travel back to 2008, and point out that the ACC’s strident advocacy for carbon neutrality at all costs was about to bite the ratepaying hand that feeds it.